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By Captain Gordon Edward
June 23, 2007
© 2K Games
Welcome to another Countdown, where summer makes you glad that you are inside and beating the heat by playing games in your basement. This week we have a surge of games to keep us busy as the temperature continues to rise. In my hometown I have swapped jeans for shorts, and I am sure many people around North America are doing the exact same thing. Now I know summer is going to tempt you to go outside and play in the sun, but heed not its requests. Stay inside where you do not need to wear SPF lotion. Anyways, let us get to the games.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (PS2 - PS3 - PSP - Xbox 360 - PC - Wii - DS) - Fearing that Hogwarts’ venerable Headmaster Dumbledore is lying about the return of Voldemort in order to undermine his power, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge appoints a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep watch over Dumbledore and the students. But Professor Dolores Umbridge’s ministry-approved course leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared, so Hermione, Ron and Harry form “Dumbledore’s Army” with the goal of preparing themselves and other courageous young wizards for the extraordinary battle that looms against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. All you need to know is that it is a movie game so if you really care about achievement points you should buy it for the 360.
The Bigs (PS2 - PS3 - PSP - Xbox 360 - Wii) - The Bigs elevates America's favourite pastime to new heights with the larger-than-life ballparks, heroic gameplay, and incredible player models. Setting this MLB experience aside from anything you've ever seen before are spectacular power-ups, stunning special effects, and a totally unique career mode. Featuring fantastic pitching, batting and fielding animations, the Bigs brings new meaning to the term highlight reel. All you need to know is that it is a sports game, which generally means easy achievements, but hopefully the interactivity on the Wii is enough to trump this factor.
Ratatouille (PS2 - PSP - Xbox 360 - Wii - DS) - Ratatouille features an acrobatic rat named Remy who must balance his love for cooking with loyalty to his family. All you need to know that of course this is another movie game, but geared towards the child fans.
Grim Grimoire (PS2) - In a world where science is replaced by magic, youngsters attend wizardry schools to learn the art of magic and the most prestigious of them all is the Tower of Silver Star. Only the most gifted attend this school to learn from Dummel Drusk, the legendary wizard who once defeated the evil overlord that occupied the Tower. All you need to know is that NIS is putting this title out so it should be a solid RPG.
Transformers (PS2 - PS3 - Xbox 360 - Wii) - Protect or destroy the Earth: As the Transformers war comes to Earth, you must make a choice - protect Earth as Autobots or destroy it as Decepticons. With dual campaigns, the fate of the world is in your hands. All you need to know is that this is another one of the movie games, but some versions will include a ticket to the movies, so that may be worth picking up for that alone. The graphics look great on the Xbox 360, and I trust in Activision putting out a solid title.
Steel Horizon (PSP) - Steel Horizon delivers both turn-based and real-time strategy gameplay, offering players complete control of a naval armada outfitted with battleships, submarines, fighter planes, and artillery. All you need to know is that the DS version of the game lacked a special something, so the port to the PSP may still be a lost cause.
Final Fantasy (PSP) - In Final Fantasy the tale begins when four young warriors, each possessing a Crystal, are summoned to bring the world back to a harmonious elemental balance. During their voyage, they discover a nefarious entity has created turmoil in the structure of time in order to take control of the world, causing the heroes to travel to places they never imagined possible. All you need to know is that if you enjoyed the other re-envisioned Final Fantasy games, this upgraded retelling may be the game to dust off your PSP for.
Darkness (PS3 - Xbox 360) - On his 21st birthday the awesome and terrible powers of the Darkness awaken within Jackie Estacado, a mafia hitman for the Franchetti crime family. With his new powers Jackie is able to wreak terrifying havoc on his enemies. Jackie must learn to fully command the Darkness so he can take back control of the Franchetti family, which is ruled by his uncle Paulie, a despicable man who is almost universally despised. All you need to know is that the game looks fantastic, and the interesting character dynamics with the powers add a great twist. Since I have been looking forward to this game for a few months I will give it the nod for Game of the Week.
Hour of Victory (Xbox 360) - Hour of Victory allows you to play a key role in the pivotal and cinematic battles from the European and North African theaters of World War II, using the skills and gameplay style you choose. Sneak into enemy territory as a covert operative, storm the gates as a British Commando, or snipe from afar as an Army Ranger - each character’s unique attributes will be needed for the fulfillment of the overall objective. All you need to know is that it is another WW2 game, but at the same time it is fairly interesting on where Midway has taken the game. The demo played quite nicely, so I at least recommend the download.
Driver Parallel Lines (Wii) - The fourth edition of the genre-defining action/driving game by Reflections Interactive, this new edition is set in New York City and features an open mission structure unfolding a story of doublecross and revenge set over 2 distinct eras of New York City. All you need to know is that the Driver series has been making steps to regaining the power it once had, so it should be an interesting twist on the Wii.
LifeSigns: Surgical Unit (DS) - It's a matter of life and death in this unique and exciting adventure game that allows you to become a top-notch intern at one of the best hospitals around. Just as in real-life, you’ll be continuously confronted with medical emergencies and personnel issues that require your immediate attention. Communicate and interact with others and experience what it's like to examine, diagnose and operate on patients that need your help. All you need to know is that if you want to keep on cutting into people, ala Trauma Center, this may be the game you need to play to keep the action going.
I must say I am fairly impressed with the release list this week, even though a few of them were multi-platform franchise titles. Even if some of the games are below par there is still plenty of choice. It can be expected since a lot of kids are getting out of school, so hopefully the titles are enough to get us through the next few months. The Darkness looks great, and I recommend everyone download it to see if you enjoy it or not. But enough rambling, this is Captain Gordon signing off.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? CaptainGordonEdward@Gmail.com